Dec. 6, 2007 — The McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia announced today that its state-of-the-art new building will be named "Robertson Hall," honoring the remarkable legacy of the distinguished financier Julian H. Robertson Jr. and his wife, Josie. The 132,000-square-foot Robertson Hall adjoins Rouss Hall, creating a 156,000-square-foot academic complex on Thomas Jefferson's historic Lawn.
The principal building gift, which carries with it the right to name the building, was given not by Robertson himself, but by one of his proteges: John A. Griffin (McIntire '85).
Robertson is a world-renowned hedge fund manager, and he and Mrs. Robertson stand out as extraordinarily active and generous philanthropists, supporting numerous causes associated with education, the arts, medicine, and the environment, among others.
Robertson has been a dedicated friend to the McIntire School, speaking at numerous McIntire-sponsored events, spending time with McIntire students in the classroom, and hiring and mentoring dozens of McIntire and U.Va. graduates. Tiger Management, which Robertson led from 1980 to 2000, was for many years the largest hedge fund in the world. It was there that he trained a generation of "Tiger cubs" for outstanding careers in finance.
"Julian and Josie have touched so many lives in so many profound ways," Griffin says. "Julian is the 'professor emeritus' of hedge fund investing, and his selfless teaching continues to this day. Likewise, his and Josie's passion for philanthropy has not only had an extraordinary influence on the organizations they have supported, but has served as a remarkable example of altruism to all of us."
Griffin is himself the founder of a highly respected hedge fund, Blue Ridge Capital.
"Julian Robertson is recognized as one of the greatest investors of all time and as a father of the hedge fund industry," says McIntire Dean Carl Zeithaml. "Furthermore, Julian's dedication to training the next generation of investment professionals, as well as his and Josie's tireless efforts to address today's pressing societal concerns and to ensure that others have the opportunity to succeed, is a testament to their great generosity of spirit. It is a privilege to name our outstanding new facility for this remarkable couple."
Griffin has long played an integral role at the McIntire School. As member of the School's faculty, he has taught a popular investment course since 1999. He has been instrumental in the development of students' real-world investment skills by founding the highly successful, student-run McIntire Investment Institute. Griffin also helped to found the School's Center for Financial Innovation and to establish the School's Julian H. Robertson Jr. Capital Markets Room in 2000, which serves as a state-of-the-art experiential learning environment for students and as a virtual research laboratory for faculty. "Over the years, John Griffin's dedication to the school and all that it stands for has been extraordinary and unwavering," Zeithaml says.
The Robertson-Rouss academic complex was meticulously planned so that it will foster excellence and innovation, the values that form the core of McIntire's educational philosophy and culture. Designed to be especially conducive to community, interdisciplinary learning and faculty-student interaction, the complex has 15 group study rooms for students, a reading and dining facility, a variety of meeting spaces, multiple conference rooms, a suite for student clubs and four technology centers. A number of the classrooms are specifically designated for interdisciplinary coursework.
Robertson Hall also features an attractive, environmentally friendly "green" roof designed to allow the planting of sedum, a low-growing garden plant that needs little water and acts as a natural insulator. The McIntire School will move into its new home in time for the spring 2008 semester.
"Our state-of-the-art new complex will help to ensure that McIntire's tradition of excellence and innovation will continue for years to come," Zeithaml says. "From our new home on the Lawn, we will continue to build the world's best business programs." McIntire maintains a ranking of No. 2 in BusinessWeek's annual assessment of the nation's undergraduate business programs.
University of Virginia President John Casteen says the new building reflects many of the University's longstanding values, as well as its goals for the future. "The Robertson-Rouss complex, with its community-oriented design, its emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, and its state-of-the-art technology, embodies those virtues that make the University the outstanding institution that it is, and that will affirm the University's status as one of the world's great centers of research and learning in the 21st century," Casteen says.